It's no secret that large law firms depend on a huge number of relationships, both internal and external, to discover and win new business opportunities. However, many of these relationships are hidden, making it hard or impossible for a business development director to discover and capitalise on them.
To meet this challenge, some firms that are turning to technology to boost their BD efforts.
Nuggets of gold
Picture the scenario: a business development director is looking to target a technology company, in line with his firm's growth targets for that sector. While previously he may have had no idea whether his firm already has any connections to the prospect, his firm recently invested in a relationship intelligence system. With that system, he can see that the senior partner in his firm's Singapore office knows the chief legal counsel in the prospect company and is regularly in touch with him.
Better still, the system also shows that the chief legal counsel actually trained at the firm's New York office earlier in his career. Armed with these insights, the BD director calls the Singapore office, and asks the senior partner to put a call in to the prospect's chief legal counsel mentioning the firm's services. When the BD director attends the follow-up meeting the senior partner arranges, the chief legal counsel's training serves as a great starting point for a positive — and profitable — working relationship.
Technology facilitates culture change
If the scenario above sounds too far-fetched, think again. Modern relationship intelligence tools are capable of identifying connections inside your organisation and with individuals beyond it, and the best are even capable of evaluating those relationships and recommending the best ways to leverage them for business benefit. Given that few lawyers and partners will fully realise the value of the relationships they own in today's complex and ever-changing marketplace, this insight is invaluable.
Firm-wide relationship intelligence tools also allow the legal professional to make their contribution to the sales process in a way that feels natural to them. The right tools will gather insights in the background, and then suggest ways that lawyers can engage with prospects that feel natural yet structured. As a result, it's easier than ever for the BD director to involve lawyers and partners in the sales process.
Known knowns, unknown knowns and Dick Cheney
Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney is widely quoted as defining knowledge as known knowns, unknown knowns, etc. The problem for the BD director is finding out the unknown knowns within the company and turning them into known knowns.
With the right technology, identifying relationships between your firm and a target company is simple. And once you understand those relationships, you'll know which ones can be used to open doors and opportunities for your firm.
Find out more about how you can use technology to help your firm win more business with less effort at www.lexisnexis-es.co.uk/blog/2017/12/06/how-to-help-lawyers-do-business-development.